Enable Uptime With A Business Continuity Plan

March 01, 2016

Enable Uptime With A Business Continuity Plan

By Chris Brunau

To understand today’s business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) landscape, it helps to look at the past. It wasn’t very long ago that backup meant daily incremental and weekly full backups to tape. Tape copies were created and shipped to a secondary location for disaster recovery. Many businesses continue to use this model today, and depending on your recovery needs, it may be perfectly adequate.

However, disaster recovery from tape can be painfully slow. First, you need to retrieve the tapes from an off-site location. Once they are back on-premises, you must ingest data to your backup server. At this point, you can restore data and applications to your primary servers. Unfortunately, that means considerable downtime and trouble for your business.

When creating an IT disaster recovery plan, it’s important to understand two concepts:

  • Recovery time objective (RTO): RTO is the amount of time that it takes to get a system restored following a failure or disaster event. So given the example above, your RTO might amount to 48 hours or more. To calculate your RTO, check out our RTO calculator.
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO): RPO is the point in time to which data can be restored following the event. If you performed a backup at 6 PM, and a server failed at 5 PM the following afternoon, your RPO would be 23 hours and any data created during that span would be lost.

Today, users can run applications from image-based backups of virtual machines. This capability is commonly referred to as “recovery-in-place” or “instant recovery.” Recovery-in-place dramatically improves RTO because operations can continue while primary servers are being restored. RPO is reduced as well—snapshot-based, incremental backups at 15-minute intervals are a common practice. Virtual machine images can also be replicated to an alternate site or cloud for disaster recovery.

For even more awesome information about business continuity, download the 4 Business Continuity Planning Essentials.

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